Sunderland's last two results have given Dick Advocaat's side real hope of avoiding relegation from the Premier League. They pulled off the Great Escape under Gus Poyet last season and could be in for a similar story this term.
A 1-1 draw against Stoke City was nothing to be ashamed of, while a 2-1 win over Southampton did their survival hopes a world of good.
But the Black Cats will have to be at their best if their momentum is to continue, with a tough trip to Everton awaiting them on Saturday afternoon.
Even when the Toffees lost to Aston Villa last weekend, they netted twice - and Sunderland's defending has been nothing short of comical throughout the current season.
So one man who needs to produce at Everton is Sunderland's experienced head John O'Shea.
|(Per Game)||Tackles||Interceptions||Headers||Clearances||Appearances||Minutes Played|
A key presence in the Black Cats defence this term, O'Shea will need to use his years of wisdom to lead his fellow defenders to a clean sheet or, at the very least, a solid performance that limits Roberto Martinez's men in the final third.
Providing a useful reference point is Phil Jagielka, Everton's England defender, who outshines O'Shea in three key areas this term.
Jagielka makes far more clearances per game, wins more headers per game and makes marginally more tackles. O'Shea's only victory comes in the interceptions department.
At Goodison Park, then, it's safe to say Sunderland's veteran will need to match up to his Everton counterpart or better if the Black Cats are to come away with anything. Martinez's men will likely be on the front foot constantly - and O'Shea will have to be at the top of his game.